Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has apologised to team-mate Mark Webber after he ignored team orders and passed the Aussie to claim victory in the latter stages of the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Vettel, who started from pole position, slipped behind Webber following the first round of pit stops, and after the fourth and final stops was some 4 seconds back. However while both were told to hold position, Vettel went on the attack - and despite being told on the radio by team boss, Christian Horner that this is getting 'silly' - he continued to go wheel-to-wheel with his team-mate and eventually moved ahead on lap 46 to claim the controversial victory.
“Obviously there is plenty of stuff now for you to talk about,” Vettel told Sky Sports F1
after the race. “But I think it has to be said that we [Mark and I] respect each other and there is nothing in that regard that has to be fixed. Obviously I owe him a proper explanation.
“I tried to give it in front of everyone [in the post-race FIA press conference] and I will try again just face-to-face. The situation is as it is now. I don't think we hate each other and so I don't think there's anything to worry about going in to the next couple of races.”
Interestingly, Vettel also alluded to the fact that he wasn't aware of any team orders - although if that was the case, it is difficult to understand why he felt the need to issue an apology. Indeed he later backtracked and conceded he did ignore the orders from the pits [see separate story
"I messed up today, I apologise for that but right now I want to say the truth,” he continued. “I wasn't aware of it [the team orders] otherwise I wouldn't take that much risk to pass someone I'm not supposed to pass at that moment.
“But obviously just before we got out on the podium, I had a very quick word and it was quite a shock [to find out about the team orders]. It's not easy for me to admit but that's the truth so I want to stick to the truth.”
“I'm not really too worried and don't really care about the criticism that is coming up now,” he continued. “I owe an explanation to Mark and to the team and that's it.
“Everyone else obviously has the right to have their own opinions but for sure it is not a victory that I'm very proud of because it should have been Mark's.”
Speaking in the post-race press conference, Vettel, echoed those same sentiments: “I cannot say much more than I did a mistake. I am not proud I did it. If I had the chance to do it again, I would do it differently. But it doesn't count now. I can't change it now.
“Maybe in the future there will be a situation where I can [make amends]. Obviously I will try to explain it to Mark and the whole team,” he concluded.